I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Little Teashop in Tokyo by Julie Caplin
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Grab your passport and escape to the land of dazzling skyscrapers, steaming bowls of comforting noodles, and a page-turning love story that will make you swoon!
For travel blogger Fiona, Japan has always been top of her bucket list so when she wins an all-expenses paid trip, it looks like her dreams of the Far East are coming true.
Until she arrives in vibrant, neon-drenched Tokyo and comes face-to-face with the man who broke her heart ten years ago, gorgeous photographer Gabe.
Fiona can’t help but remember the heartache of their last meeting but it’s not long before the Japanese art of contentment and a special, traditional tea ceremony work their magic…
Amidst the temples and clouds of soft pink cherry blossoms, Fiona and Gabe start to see life – and each other – differently.
Anyone who is interested in reading this book should ask themselves the following questions: are you interested in Japanese culture? Do you enjoy light-hearted romance novels? Are you missing travel due to the current pandemic and looking for a bit of escapism? If you answered yes to these questions, then The Little Teashop in Tokyo by Julie Caplan is the book for you.
Reading The Little Teashop in Tokyo brought me so much joy. I have been interested in travelling to Japan for a few years now, and this book made me long for a pair of Dorothy’s ruby slippers. I would love nothing more than to be able to apparate to Japan simply with the click of my heels. The Little Teashop in Tokyo made me long for this even more.
Fiona, the main character in The Little Teashop in Tokyo, is an English blogger and influencer who has won a photography competition. The prize is a two-week trip to Tokyo, where she is to be mentored by a world famous photographer ahead of her own exhibition back in London. Fiona has never been to Japan, in fact she has not travelled much at all because of her overly needy, hypochondriac mother. Fiona struggles with lack of confidence, which stems from an event that happened ten years previously, when she was eighteen years old.
Upon arrival in Tokyo, Fiona is unpleasantly surprised when her mentor turns out to be someone completely unexpected. Someone that Fiona knows from her past. Someone that Fiona cannot stand – world-famous photographer Gabe. Fiona’s past history with Gabe is rocky and complicated, and being face to face with him again is the last thing that Fiona wanted or expected. Her predicament is not helped by the fact that Gabe does not seem to remember her, and that he seems to have absolutely no interest in mentoring her.
While the budding relationship with Fiona and Gabe is lovely, I believe that the vivid descriptions of Tokyo and other sites in Japan are where this book truly shines. The vivid descriptions of the food in The Little Teashop in Tokyo made my mouth water. One of my favourite aspects of travelling is tasting the local cuisine. There were times while I was reading this book that I wanted to just close my eyes and pretend that I was there myself – escapism at its finest. It also made me want to get in the kitchen and try to whip up some of these meals myself.
Julie Caplan paints Japan with such vivid detail that I could almost imagine myself there. As the two main characters are photographers, scenery is essential. It would be so easy to write about photography in a perfunctory way, perhaps with something along the lines of “Fiona looked upon Mount Fiji and took a picture.” That would be incredibly boring to read. Instead, Caplan’s writing shines when it comes to description. Caplan uses the narrative to paint a wonderful, life like image of Japan. I was impressed.
I was also impressed by the insight into Japanese culture that this book provides. Personally, I am fascinated by Japanese culture. In the story, Fiona is staying with a Japanese family that owns a traditional tea shop. The matriarch of the family is a tea master who runs Japanese tea ceremonies. Fiona becomes close to this family during her stay. They provide her with a lot of wisdom and insight into Japanese culture and proverbs. The interactions between Fiona and this family were some of my favourite parts of this book.
The only reason that I am giving this book four stars out of five is that I felt that some of the characters were a bit stereotypical. Some of them did not feel fully developed; I would have loved to get to know them more. This especially pertains to Fiona’s friends back in England. While they were not a key part of the story, she does occasionally mention them during her travels, and at times I was not entirely sure who they were. It would have been nice to see more of her history, perhaps just before her trip to Japan. Perhaps I am being nit-picky here, but I do like to be able to see a character in their normal, everyday life before they are thrown into the situation that changes them. That being said, this is a minor detail and does not at all detract from the reading experience.
If you are looking for a light-hearted escapist romance then The Little Teashop in Tokyo is the perfect book for you.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my review. If you wouldn’t mine going to sign this petition I would greatly appreciate it.